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Catherine Darker PhotoCatherine Darker

Adelaide Assistant Professor in Health Services Research

Contact Details
Public Health and Primary Care
Trinity College Centre for Health Sciences
Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24, Ireland

t: + 353 1 8968510
t: + 353 1 4031211


Assistant Professor Catherine Darker is a Health Psychologist. Dr Darker is grant active and has secured funding from the Health Research Board, the Irish Research Council and the Health Services Executive. She is a Registered Psychologist and a Registered Health Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is a member of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) subcommittee (Treatment, Rehabilitation & Consequences), Department of Health. She is a Council Member of Healthy Ireland, Department of Health. She is a Board For more information:

Research Interests

Dr Darker’s research has demonstrated her commitment to align population based approaches to improving health outcomes and a willingness to foster partnerships with multi-disciplinary professionals across a range of applied settings. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative methodologies is used where appropriate. All research findings have a clear dissemination strategy and a policy direction. Dr Darker’s research focuses on three areas; 1. health policy and health services research; 2. problem substance use and addiction; and 3. primary care..

Dr Darker took up the post of Adelaide Lecturer in Health Services Research in 2012 and is an active member of the Adelaide Health Policy Initiative (AHPI). Dr Darker’s work, in conjunction with the AHPI, focuses on the models of good practice between primary and secondary care - developing and implementing a survey of risk and lifestyle factors, which contribute to cardiovascular disease; designing community health and wellbeing initatives; and evaluating a number of national disease registers, especially with regard to the major causes of death and disability.

Dr Darker has used her training in health behaviour change interventions to design, implement and evaluate pragmatic interventions to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs, primarily in opiate dependent methadone maintained cohorts. She has an active interest in physical activity interventions, including the design, implementation and evaluation of same.

Dr Darker has examined the readiness of primary care services to deliver on effective chronic disease management; evaluated a GP led minor injuries service; and a sexual health clinic.


Dr Darker lectures to undergraduate medical students and at postgraduate level. She provides clinical audit and research support to the TCD/HSE Specialist Training Programme in General Practice.

Service to College and Community

Dr Darker is the Chair of the Healthy Trinity committee. She is also a member of the Quality Committee in College. She currently serves on the Tallaght Hospital and Trinity College Campus Committee.

Dr Darker is an active member of the PSI, her professional body, particularly within the Division of Health Psychology.

Top Ten publications

  1. Darker CD, Sweeney BP, Barry JM, Farrell MF, Donnelly-Swift E. (2015). Psychosocial interventions for benzodiazepine harmful use, abuse or dependence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD009652. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009652.pub2.
  2. DP French, CD Darker, FF Eves, & FF Sniehotta. (2013). The systematic development of a brief intervention to increase walking in the general public using an "extended" Theory of Planned Behavior. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 10, 940-8.
  3. Apantaku-Olajide, T., Darker CD., Smyth BP. (2013). Onset of cocaine use: associated intoxication and psychosocial characteristics among adolescents in substance abuse treatment. J Addict Med, 7(3), May/June. 183-188.
  4. Barrett, E., Darker, C., Hussey, J. (2013). Promotion of physical activity in primary care: knowledge and practice of General Practitioners and Physiotherapists. Journal of Public Health, 21(1), 63-69.
  5. Darker, C., Sweeney, B., El Hassan, H., Smyth, B., Ivers, J., & Barry, J. (2012). Brief interventions are effective in reducing alcohol consumption in opiate dependent methadone maintained patients: results from an implementation study. Drug & Alcohol Review, 31(3), 348-56.
  6. White, A., O’Brien., Houlihan, T., Darker, C., O’Shea., B. (2012). Childhood obesity: Parents fail to recognize. General Practitioners fail to act. Irish Medical Journal, 105 (1), 7-10.
  7. Darker, C., French, D.P., Eves, F.F., & Sniehotta, F.F. (2010). A Theory of Planned Behaviour intervention to promote walking amongst the general population: a waiting-list randomised controlled trial. Psychology & Health, 25(1), 71-88.
  8. Darker, C., & French, D.P. (2009). What sense do people make of a Theory of Planned Behaviour questionnaire? A think-aloud study. Journal of Health Psychology, 14(7), 861-871.
  9. Darker, C., Larkin, M., & French, D.P. (2007). An exploration of walking behaviour– an Interpretative Phenomenological Approach. Social Science & Medicine, 65(10), 2172-2183.
  10. Darker, C., French, D.R., Longdon, S., et al., (2007) Are beliefs elicited biased by question order? A Theory of Planned Behaviour belief elicitation study about walking in the UK general population. British Journal of Health Psychology, 12 (1), 91-110.

Last updated 23 November 2016 Mary O'Neill (Email).